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The Bandwidth of Transient Yaw Effects on Vehicle Aerodynamics

Mankowski, O.; Sims-Williams, D.B.; Dominy, R.; Duncan, B.; Gargoloff, J.

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O. Mankowski

R. Dominy

B. Duncan

J. Gargoloff


A vehicle on the road encounters an unsteady flow due to turbulence in the natural wind, the unsteady wakes from other vehicles and as a result of traversing through the stationary wakes of road side obstacles. There is increasing concern about potential differences in aerodynamic behaviour measured in steady flow wind tunnel conditions and that which occurs for vehicles on the road. It is possible to introduce turbulence into the wind tunnel environment (e.g. by developing active turbulence generators) but on-road turbulence is wide ranging in terms of both its intensity and frequency and it would be beneficial to better understand what aspects of the turbulence are of greatest importance to the aerodynamic performance of vehicles. There has been significant recent work on the characterisation of turbulent airflow relevant to road vehicles. The simulation of this time-varying airflow is now becoming possible in wind tunnels and in CFD. Less is known about the range of turbulence length scales and intensities that are significant to the performance of vehicles. It is only necessary to simulate (experimentally or computationally) the Venn intersection of the range of conditions experienced and the range that are important to the vehicle's performance. The focus of this work is on transient yaw fluctuations. Time-resolved simulations of simple two dimensional parametric geometries subjected to yaw transients at a range of different time scales were conducted using Exa Powerflow. The effects of model geometry, Reynolds number yaw fluctuation amplitude and superposition were investigated. It was found that, in general, the flow could be treated as quasi-steady for reduced frequencies below 0.3 (based on model length and freestream velocity), which is consistent with theory. The most significant changes were observed in a critical reduced frequency range between ω R = 0.3 and ω R = 1.5 (scales of 4-20 vehicle lengths, or periods of 0.6 to 3s for a vehicle at 30 m/s). Higher frequencies will have significant effects, but these were observed to show little sensitivity to frequency above the critical range. Small physical features on real vehicles will add importance to smaller, but not larger, scales. The dynamic effects were largely independent of Reynolds number, including for near-inviscid conditions, indicating that the sources of the non-quasi-steady response were not viscous in origin. Increasing yaw amplitude or combining multiple frequency components did not have a summative impact suggesting that it may not be possible to describe vehicle response to transient conditions using linear concepts such as transfer or admittance functions.


Mankowski, O., Sims-Williams, D., Dominy, R., Duncan, B., & Gargoloff, J. (2011). The Bandwidth of Transient Yaw Effects on Vehicle Aerodynamics. SAE International Journal of Passenger Cars - Mechanical Systems, 4(1), 131-142.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Dec 4, 2011
Deposit Date Dec 6, 2011
Publicly Available Date Mar 19, 2015
Journal SAE International Journal of Passenger Cars - Mechanical Systems
Print ISSN 1946-3995
Electronic ISSN 1946-4002
Publisher SAE International
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 4
Issue 1
Pages 131-142


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